clare burson

silver and ash

Archive for June, 2009

the lull after the storm

there’s a strange lull that comes after the completion of a big project. one that i’m sure most everyone reading this has experienced. i suppose this explains my silence on the blog.

i haven’t been particularly inspired to write. at least not about the project. i wouldn’t say i’ve moved worlds away from the themes in SILVER AND ASH. i don’t think that’s possible. but in terms of my creative process, i’m taking a break. i’ve written a couple of love songs since finishing the album. and neither of them hearken back to germany in the 1930’s. (one of them is about my grandmother, jojo, but it’s entirely contemporary . . . well, almost entirely . . .)

day to day, i’m giving music lessons – broadening my horizons by learning covers to teach to my guitar students. i’m expanding my repetoire to include songs by green day, uncle kracker, jack johnson, the grateful dead, and cat power. (8-13 year olds have quite diverse – and at times mature (by my standards) – musical tastes – it’s quite amazing!) i’m giving tours two days a week, at the lower east side tenement museum. (like i said, i can’t move too far away from the themes of dislocation, loss, memory, and history . . . if you haven’t been to the museum, GO! it’s an amazing place.) i’m reading lots of novels. the book thief, a tree grows in brooklyn, jason lutes’ berlin series, the little book . . .

SILVER AND ASH is in a different place now that its creation has been completed. i’m in outreach mode. less creation and more connection. i performed the piece for college students at the university of albany in april, and again for high school freshmen at the facing history school in manhattan last month. it was incredibly encouraging to see how new audiences were connecting to the material. at the high school, the teacher, daniel braunfeld, prepared his students for my visit by reviewing the book i wrote to accompany the performance. when i arrived, they had already come up with an handful of very insightful and sensitive questions about my creative process and the experience of encouraging my grandmother to talk about her past.

i’m off to boston next week to debut the song cycle there on the 16th. i’m looking forward to another new setting for these songs. if you’re around, please come.